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March 14, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior Paul Woodbury earned South Carolina’s second individual medal of the 2009-10 season while the Gamecocks came up one stroke short of host Florida State in a wild finish at the Seminole Intercollegiate on Sunday.

Woodbury won a four-hole playoff to defeat Florida State senior Seath Lauer to claim the tournament title after the pair tied at 212 (-1) through 54 holes. After playing the par-4, 427-yard 18th hole three times without a winner, Woodbury carded a par on his fourth try to outduel the Seminole senior captain for the tournament victory at Southwood Golf Course.

Woodbury began the day in a tie for seventh place at 1-over, but posted a 33-36=69 (-2) in the final round to move up to a first-place tie. He was solid throughout the day, battling heavy winds to card three straight birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes to make the turn at 3-under, then had only one blemish on his card with a bogey at the 13th. It was the lowest 54-hole score in the Lake City, S.C., senior’s career, and he will add this tournament medal to a pair of first-place ties at the 2008 and 2009 Rees Jones Intercollegiate events.

South Carolina posted a 289 (+5) for the second straight day to finish at 866 (+14), good enough for a solid second-place finish. But it ended up being much closer than previously thought. One of Florida State’s top players signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified, forcing the Seminoles to take its highest score of the day – a 78 that otherwise would have been dropped. The resulting nine-stroke swing shrank the margin from 10 strokes to just one as the Seminoles barely held on for the tournament title at 865 (+13).

“It was kind of crazy,” head coach Bill McDonald said. “We were following the live results on Golfstat, and that had us about nine or 10 shots back. But then we heard that the FSU player had been disqualified, and that was a nine-shot swing. We came awfully close. But we played well. We had really tough wins down here the last couple of days. The golf course was not tremendously difficult – pretty wide open with soft greens – but when the winds kicked up, it was all you wanted.”

Sophomore Wesley Bryan just missed picking up his fourth straight top-10 finish as he tied for 11th at 216 (+3). Bryan, who entered the day tie for third place, signed for a 74 (+3) after fighting a tough back nine. He began his day with 10 straight pars, followed by a birdie at the 11th. But he would bogey four of his last seven holes to drop a few spots down the leaderboard.

The Gamecock freshmen in the field made an impact on Sunday as well. Clint Tolleson earned his fourth top-20 finish of the season – his third in a row – with a tie for 16th as he shot 73 on Sunday to finish at 218 (+5). Tolleson got off to a tough start with three bogeys on the front nine, but he made up for it with a three-birdie, two-bogey back side to finish at 2-over for the day. Freshman Dean Hester posted his best round as a collegian – and his first under par – with a 2-under-par 69 to move up to a tie for 26th place at 8-over-par 221 for the week. Also in 26th place was senior Patrick Rada, who shot 74 (+3) on Sunday to move to 8-over for the week. Senior George Bryan IV was one shot back of Hester and Rada, tied for 28th at 222 (+9) after closing with a 73.

Behind Woodbury and Lauer was a tie for third place between Jack Fields (North Carolina) and Wesley Graham (FSU) at even-par 213. In the team standings, the Seminoles and Gamecocks were trailed by Arkansas and North Texas, who finished at 873 (+21).

The Gamecocks will face a quick turnaround after they return from Tallahassee as they will leave out again on Wednesday evening for Statesboro, Ga., where they will look to defend their 2009 title at the Schenkel E-Z-GO Invitational. Play begins Friday at Forest Heights Golf Club, and the tournament is hosted by Georgia Southern.

^T1. Paul Woodbury – 70-73-69=212 (-1)
T11. Wesley Bryan – 70-72-74=216 (+3)
T16. Clint Tolleson – 73-72-73=218 (+5)
T26. Patrick Rada – 75-72-74=221 (+8)
*T26. Dean Hester – 78-74-69=221 (+8)
T28. George Bryan IV – 75-74-73=222 (+9)
^ Won on fourth playoff hole
* Competed as an individual, score does not count toward team total

1. Florida State – 278-298-289=865 (+13)
2. South Carolina – 288-289-289=866 (+14)
T3. Arkansas – 293-292-288=873 (+21)
T3. North Texas – 291-289-293=873 (+21)
5. Vanderbilt – 292-292-291=875 (+23)
6. Mississippi State – 289-304-283=876 (+24)
T7. North Carolina – 285-295-307=887 (+35)
T7. Baylor – 288-304-295=887 (+35)
9. Troy – 291-312-294=897 (+45)
10. Georgia State – 299-305-294=899 (+47)
11. George Mason – 300-315-292=908 (+55)
12. Mercer – 297-304-307=908 (+56)
13. Western Carolina – 303-311=298=912 (+60)
14. Cincinnati – 318-310-299=927 (+75)